The bitter winter cold is hard on all of us, including our pets. Although some dog breeds are comfortable to the cold, others are not. As pet owners, it is important to set up a warm, cozy home for your dog before and during the winter season regardless of the breed. In today’s post, we are giving you tips on how to keep your beloved pooch comfy and warm all winter long:
Maintaining the Coat
If your dog has a short coat, then we strongly advise against shaving. The animal’s coat will insulate the pet and protect it from the harsh winter. Unless the dog has very long, unruly coat then you can trim or cut the excess fur.
Regular grooming helps reduce the amount of dander released into the air. This helps minimize allergies. Apart from grooming the coat, brush it regularly to avoid tangles and matted fur. Trim the paw fur and check the pads of the paws for cracks and cuts. Apply Vaseline on the wounded area to soften the skin and heal the wound. To keep the paws protected, get the dog to wear booties or pet shoes.
Never give the animal a bath outdoors. Exposing the animal to water and bitter cold could cause sickness. You want to reduce the frequency of bathing your dog to one or twice per month using warm water. Always give the dog a bath indoors to protect the animal from the elements. Also, make sure every bathing session is short and dry the animal as soon as possible to help the dog retain body heat. Ideally, you want to brush your pet’s coat as you dry him to cut the bathing time in half.
Having ample supply of food is important to keep up warmth and energy. You don’t have to increase your pet’s food serving over the winter if he lives indoors. Just make sure he has enough food for the day. This will help the animal keep warm without causing the dog to gain weight.
Some dogs are accustomed to the cold and they have the ability to stay outdoors comfortably despite the biting cold. These dogs will require more food for energy and warmth. Apart from food, the animal must have access to clean, unfrozen drinking water at all times, regardless if the animal stays indoors or outdoors. If the water keeps freezing, we recommend investing on a heated water bowl. The bowl will keep the water from freezing up especially when it is set up outdoors.
Walks and Exercise
Dogs need regular exercise to stay healthy. You can still take your dog out for a walk if it’s not too cold. Just make sure to give the dogs shorter walks so they do not get cold. Even if you’re indoors, you can engage your pet to exercise. Play games such as tug-of-war, fetch, etc., to give the animal a workout. For older dogs suffering arthritis, lead the dog to walk up and down the stairs instead of playing fetch.
Setting Up a Cozy Shelter
To keep your dog comfortable, make sure the shelter is sufficiently insulated. Start by adding beds or blankets made with heat-retaining materials. Make sure the bedding is thick, comfortable and insulated. Place the bed in the warmest spot in the house. Finally, dress your dog in warm clothing such as doggie jackets or booties for an extra layer of protection from the cold.